Old Theology Quarterly


Many Christians do not realize the conditions which existed in the Church in the beginning of the Gospel Age. The Jews as a nation had been typically justified by typical sacrifices, from the Adamic curse, or condemnation, and put under the Law given at Sinai, as a Covenant under which, if obedient, they were to have life. But the Law proved valueless to them so far as giving them the hoped-for life was concerned, though it taught them some good lessons. All the other nations, known as Gentiles (heathen) were still under the original condemnation of Eden. Consequently when our Lord came, both Jews and Gentiles were under condemnation to death, the Jew by the Law from which he had expected so much, but with which he was unable to comply, because of depravity, and the gentile by the original sentence upon father Adam, from which he had in no sense escaped, not even typically as the Jew had. But the Redeemer whom God provided was sufficient for both; for in the one sacrifice of himself he accomplished the redemption of both, and reconciled both unto God in one body by the cross. Eph. 2:16.

The Jewish converts (and they composed the majority of the early Church) could scarcely realize the greatness of the change from the Law Covenant to the new arrangement in Christ, and were continually adding Christ's teachings and his law of love to their Mosaic Law, thus adding to their already heavy burden, instead of accepting the sacrificial death of Christ as the atonement for their sins under the Law, and as the end of the condemnation of that Law Covenant. (Rom. 10:4; 3:20, 28.) It is not surprising when we remember their early prejudices in favor of the Law, that the spirit of truth was able to guide them but slowly into the full truth on the subject. Even the apostles were slow to learn, and we find St. Peter so slow to follow the lead of the spirit, that he had to be taught by a special vision that Gentiles needed no longer to become Jews and to conform to the Law of Moses before they could share Divine favor, but that they had access to God through Christ regardless of the Law Covenant.


Some complained to the other apostles and brethren about St. Paul's recognition of Gentiles, and this brought the question before them all, and led to an investigation of God's dealings in the matter. "When they heard these things they held their peace and glorified God, saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." Acts 11:18.

St. Paul, most easily led of the spirit, got clear views on the subject earliest, and had to oppose others among the apostles less strong and less spiritually clear sighted. (Gal. 2:11.) Jerusalem was long considered the center of the Christian religion, the largest number and oldest believers and apostles living there; and as St. Paul's views of the changed condition of things became clearer and clearer, and he did not hesitate to preach boldly what he saw to be dispensational truth, some prejudiced ones desired to know whether the brethren at Jerusalem would concur in the advanced views, and St. Paul and Barnabas and others went up to Jerusalem to lay the matter before them and to bring back a report.

A great debate and examination of the question on all sides followed. St. Peter and St. James, finally agreeing with St. Paul, influenced the entire council. St. Peter reminded them of God's wonderful dealing with Cornelius, who was justified and made acceptable to God through faith in Christ, and not through keeping the Law, and urged, "Now, therefore, why tempt ye God, to put a yoke (Moses' Law) upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" St. James said, "My sentence is that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God." Then the council so decided, and sent a written message to the confused Gentile believers, saying: - "We have heard that certain ones who went out from us (here) have troubled you with words subverting your souls (destroying your faith), saying, 'Be circumcised and keep the Law' to whom we gave no such commandment. . . . It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." (Acts 15:9-29). And even these suggestions were given as advice, and not as so much of the Mosaic Law, with penalties attached.


The Apostle Paul's epistle to the Galatians (who had been Gentiles) was written expressly to counteract the influence of the Judaizing teachers who mingled with the believers of Galatia and endeavored to subvert the true faith in Christ by pointing them away from the cross of Christ [HGL80] to a hope of acceptance with God by keeping the Law of Moses in connection with faith in Christ: thus making Christianity merely an addition to the Law Covenant and not instead of it. This he calls "another gospel," yet really not another, for there can be but one; hence it was a perversion of the real Gospel. (Gal. 1:7-9.) And here St. Paul indicates that he knew that the apostles at Jerusalem had at first only a mixed Gospel, and that he went up to see them on the occasion mentioned in Acts 15:4, by revelation, to communicate to them that fuller, purer, unmixed Gospel which he already had been able to receive, and which he had been teaching; and, he says, he communicated it to them privately, lest their reputation should hinder them from receiving the truth and even then some false brethren, spies, sought to compel Titus (a Greek) to be circumcised. Gal. 2:2-5.

It is further along in this same epistle that St. Paul tells of St. Peter's vacillation on the question of the Law (chap. 2:11-16) and his words of reproof to Peter We who are Jews by nature, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but on account of faith in Christ, even we have believed in Christ that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by obedience to the Law. Why, then, should we attempt to fetter others, or longer bind ourselves, by that which has served its purpose, in bringing us to Christ and the New Covenant?

O foolish Galatians! who has deluded you? As many as are trusting to obedience to the Law are under its condemnation or curse. "Christ hath redeemed us (Israelites) from the curse of the Law, that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and that we (Israelites) might receive the promise of the spirit through faith." And surely God's Covenant with Abraham, made four hundred and thirty years before the Law was given, cannot be annulled by that Law. Gal. 3:1, 10, 13, 17.

Next, the apostle answers a supposed inquiry as to what was the object of the Law, and why it was given, if not necessary to the attainment of the Abrahamic promises. He says the Law was added because of sin, to manifest sin in its true light that sin might be seen to be a great and deep-seated malady. The Law was a pedagogue, or servant, to bring to Christ all Israelites who desired to learn the true way of life. Gal. 3:24; Matt. 11:28-30.

As children are under nursery laws and subject to teachers until an appointed time, so were we (Israelites) under the Law, and treated as servants rather than as sons. We were kept under restraints, though we were the heirs through whom, according to the promise, others were to be blessed. But in the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law that we (Israelites), being liberated, might receive the adoption of sons. And so also "because ye (who were not under the Law, but were Gentiles or heathen) are (also now) sons, (therefore) God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts." We were sons under tutelage, and you were aliens, foreigners and strangers, but now you and we, who are accepted of God in Christ, are fully received into sonship and heirship, and neither of us is subject to the Law. Gal. 4:1-7.

Tell me, you that desire to be under the Law Covenant, Do you not understand what it is? It is a bondage, as allegorically shown in Abraham's two sons. Abraham, here, is a figure of God; and Sarah, the real wife, is a figure of God; and Sarah, the real wife, is a figure of the real Covenant of Blessing, out of which the Christ should come as heir of all, to bless the world. For a long time Sarah was barren; so, too, for a long time the original Covenant of God, made with Abraham- "in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" brought forth no fruit, until Christ Jesus. Hagar, the servant of Sarah, in the meantime was treated as Sarah's representative, and her son as the representative of Sarah's son. Hagar represented the Law Covenant, and fleshly Israel was represented by her child, Ishmael. For the time they represented the true Covenant and the true seed of blessing, though they were always really servants child, as well as mother. When the true son of the real wife, the heir, was born, it was manifest that the son of the bondwoman was not the heir of promise. And to show typically that the Law Covenant was not to have any rule over the spiritual sons of God, Hagar was not allowed to become the governess of Isaac, but in his interest was dismissed entirely. Gal. 4:21-31; Gen. 21:10.

The Apostle's argument, based on this allegory, is, that we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the Seed to whom the promise was made; we are not children of the bondwoman, the Law Covenant, but children of the original Abrahamic Covenant (the Sarah Covenant) born free from the slavery and conditions of the Law Covenant. And not only so born, but the Law is entirely put away from us, and has nothing whatever to do with us- "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" the Law Covenant. "If ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under the Law (Covenant)." Gal. 5:1-18.

But Paul asks- "Shall we continue in sin (willfully), because we are not under the Law (Covenant)?" (Rom. 6:15.) Shall we take advantage of our liberty to break away into more sin because we are sons and heirs, and no longer commanded as servants, Thou shalt, and thou shalt not? No, no; as sons, begotten of the spirit, partakers of the spirit of holiness, the spirit of the truth, we delight to do our Father's will; and the law of obedience to his will is deeply engraven upon our hearts. (Heb. 8:10; 10:15, 16.) We gladly sacrifice our all, even our lives, in opposing sin and error, and in forwarding righteousness and truth; hence we answer emphatically, "God forbid." We will not take advantage of our liberty from the Jewish Law Covenant, to commit sin. But if any man should think to do so, let him remember that only those led by the spirit of God are the sons of God. Rom. 8:14.

We are not under the Law Covenant, but under Divine favor, and not only so, but being justified and reconciled to God in Christ, we have gone further and accepted the "high calling," the "heavenly calling," and consecrated our justified lives- "even unto death" and been accepted as members of the Body of Christ and are thus heirs of the Abrahamic (Sarah) Covenant. (Gal. 3:29.) Hence, so far from desiring to use our liberty to indulge in sin, we, having God's spirit, detest sin and love righteousness and delight ourselves in the "Law of Christ" Love. Christ's Word is our Law not a law of bondage, but of Liberty. Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein (free), being not a forgetful [HGL81] hearer, but one who exercises his liberty, this man shall be truly blessed thereby. Such fulfill the royal law, the law of love. Jas. 1:25.


If we have proved that the Ten Commandments were given to Israel, and to Israel only, and that as the basis of a Covenant made only with that nation, and if we have shown that the other nations of the world have been left by God without any Law except such traces as yet remain of the original Law, written in the nature of the first perfect man, who was created in God's image, and that to the Church our Lord gave the Law of Love, then we have proved that the Ten Commandments should not be recognized by the Gospel Church, except as they are in harmony with the law of Love.

Our Lord has a standard for all who accept him, as Moses, the Mediator of the Law Covenant, had ten commands for a standard. The Master said, "A New Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 13:34.) It is the same law that was expressed in the Ten Commandments, but a more refined and more comprehensive statement of that Law, designed for a more advanced class. The people put under the Law Covenant and baptized into Moses were a household of Servants, while the people of the Law of Love are a household of God's sons. Thus we read, "Moses verily was faithful as a servant over all his House (of Servants), but Christ (was faithful) as a son over his own House (of sons), whose house are we, if. . . ." Heb. 3:6.

The expression of the Divine Law given at Sinai was exactly suited to the House of Servants to whom it was given: it was a series of instructions Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not. The expression of the Law of Love is very different, and implies much more liberty. It simply tells those who are God's sons, and who therefore are begotten of his spirit, You may do or say anything in harmony with love. Pure love for God will lead not only to obedience to his will, but to the study of his will, in his Word. Pure love governing our conduct toward our fellow-men and the lower animals will seldom work to their injury. It will come more and more under the guidance of the Lord's Word, and thus we shall be perfected in love. But from the first it is a safe law: it is a "Law of Liberty," in that it requires us merely to act out, according to our own judgments, that which we voluntarily consecrate ourselves to do, our own wishes as New Creatures.

Since this Royal Law of Love is made only with those whose desires are changed, who no longer love sin but are seeking escape from it as well as from its penalty, who now love God and his righteousness, it would be manifestly improper to give these "sons of God" the statement of God's Law or will in the same form that it was expressed to the House of "Servants." The sons are granted a Law of Liberty, the servants a Law of Bondage. The servants were told what they might and might not do; because they were servants, not sons, not begotten of the Father's spirit; hence, they needed positive commands, restraints and penalties. This is forcibly expressed by the Apostle in his exposition of this very subject in Gal. 3.

How strange you would think it if we were to say, We feel it our duty to tell the readers of this journal who are saints, that they should not make or worship images, that they should not blaspheme God's name, that they should not steal from their neighbors, that they should not murder their neighbors, nor slander them, nor bear false witness against them. The intelligent and consecrated reader would feel offended, and that justly. He would say, The Editor has a very low opinion of his readers, or he would not so address them.

Just so it would be strange indeed if God or Christ had given the Ten Commandments to the Gospel Church as the basis of the Law of Love. And the truly consecrated and spirit-of-love-begotten ones, would have been justified in questioning the wisdom and love of putting them under an expression of the Divine Law so far below their nature and wish and covenant as to be almost an insult.

But the Law of Love, while it is a Law of Liberty and an "easy yoke" to such as have the Lord's spirit, is nevertheless a most searching Law discerning, scrutinizing, judging the very thoughts and intents of our hearts, as well as our actions and words. In that one word Love is expressed the very essence of the Divine Law. Love to God implies full obedience, full recognition of Divine character wisdom, love, justice and power full harmony with and service of God, and the exercise of those qualities of character in all our thoughts, words and deeds.


This Law of Love to God and our fellowmen, which we delight to obey to the extent of our ability, not of compulsion, but of a willing mind, as partakers of the spirit of Christ, is the only Law with which we have to do. While it entirely ignores the Mosaic Law, its "thou shalt," and "thou shalt not," it really accomplishes far more than the Mosaic Law; for, with his heart ruled by love for God and man, who would desire to dishonor God or to injure his fellowman?

But as of the Mosaic Law it was true that its utterances were only to those under it Israelites for "whatsoever the Law saith it saith to them who are under the Law" (Rom. 3:19), so it is true of the Law of Love; it speaks only to those who are under it, and these are only the consecrated believers in Christ. It is a law of liberty, in that all who are under it are under it from choice. They came under it voluntarily, and may leave it when they please. In this it differs greatly from the Law put upon fleshly Israel as a nation, in which they had no individual liberty or choice, being born under bondage to that Law Covenant. Our Law is the Royal Law; because the "little flock," developed under this Law of liberty and love, is the royal family, the Divine family, selected under their Lord and Head to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, partakers of the Divine nature. Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.

Those now being selected as members for the Body of Christ, are only such as delight to do God's will, sons of God and "brethren of Christ," having this likeness to Christ. And at the close of the Millennial Age, when the rod of iron shall have broken the proud hearts, and shall have caused the stiff knees to bend in obedience, and when the obstinate are cut off as incorrigible, wilful sinners, then the Law of [HGL82] Love and liberty will again be virtually in force over all God's creatures. All who shall be permitted to enter upon that grand age of perfection following the Millennial reign of Christ will first have been tested, and will have given abundant proof that they delight to do God's will and that his righteous law is continually their hearts' desire.


In his letter to the Romans (chapter 7), the Apostle reasons to Jewish converts to Christianity: "For," he says, "I speak to them that know the Law."

He then represents the Law Covenant as a husband and Israelites bound by it as a wife to a husband. He shows that as it would be a sin for the woman to unite with another man while her husband lives, so it would be wrong for Israel to leave Moses and his Covenant of the Law, and to unite with Christ unless released by death; either the death of the Law Covenant or their death to the Law Covenant.

It is a common mistake to suppose the Scriptures to teach that the Law Covenant died, or was destroyed by our Lord. It still lives; and all the children of Jacob are still bound by it, unless they have died to it. Only those who realize that they could not gain everlasting life through their union with Moses (the Law covenant) are ready to abandon all hope of saving their life by that union with Moses, to become dead to all such expectations, and to accept the death of Christ, the ransom for Adam and all his race, as the basis of a new hope of a new life. Hence, only such Israelites as by faith reckoned themselves hopelessly dead under the Law Covenant, and as risen with Christ to a new life secured by his sacrifice, and who in will are dead to sin, only such could be united to Christ as the New Husband. Thus, according to the Apostle's reasoning, the thought of blending the two Covenants, and being united to both Moses and Christ, was wholly out of the question. Compare Rom. 6:2.

The text, "Christ is the end (or fulfillment) of the Law (Covenant) for righteousness to everyone (under it) that believeth" (Rom. 10:4), does not conflict with the above, because only believers are specified. (Compare Rom. 3:31; Gal. 2:19.) Eph. 2:15 should be read: "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity of the law of commandments contained in ordinances," etc. Col. 2:13, 14 refers to "quickened" Jewish believers for whom the handwriting of ordinances is blotted out. Verse 20 refers to the Gentile converts who had to become dead to the "rudiments of the world," before becoming members of Christ, the heir of the original Abrahamic Covenant typified by Sarah, even as the Jews must become dead to the rudiments of their Law Covenant, typified by Hagar.


That the Law Covenant with Israel is still binding upon that nation is further evident from the fact that upon their nation rejection of Christ they were nationally blinded until the end of the Gospel Age (Rom. 11:7, 25), and that God declares that he has "not cast away his people" of that Covenant, but that under that Covenant he will yet open their eyes to see Christ as the only door of hope, and that of a new life purchased with his own. (Rom. 11:2, 27, 29; compare Deut. 30:1-9.) Meanwhile, we have the evidence that their Covenant continues in force in the fact that, as a nation, they have for centuries been receiving the very "curses" specified under their Covenant. See Deut. 28:15-67. Verses 49-53 describe the Roman siege, etc.; verses 64-67 describe the condition of Israel since. (Isa. 59:21.) As heretofore shown (See DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. 2, pages 88-93) the Lord in Lev. (26:18-34-45) declared the symbolical "seven times," 2520 years, of Israel's subjection to the Gentiles; and their deliverance A D 1914. Thus their present experience was foretold as a part of their Covenant.

Rom. 7:6 is not out of harmony with this explanation (that the Israelite who would unite with Christ must die to his nation's Covenant, and that the Law Covenant is not yet dead); for, properly rendered, (See marginal reading, Revised Version and Diaglott) it reads, "But now we are delivered from the Law (Covenant), being dead to that wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit (with our minds, our wills)," and not (be required to serve) the very letter of the old, Law Covenant, which has passed away.

What was defective in the old or Law Covenant? Was it sinful or bad? No. How came it then that under that Covenant we learned so much about sin?

Because, previous to receiving the Law, Israelites were like the remainder of the world dead in trespasses and sins; and, being already under sentence of death, we were like the remainder, unrecognized of God, and without any special commands; and hence we could not disobey or increase our sin by disobedience, until the Law Covenant began to command us.

But, notwithstanding that death sentence under which we and all the world rested, we Israelites were "alive" before the Law Covenant came, because God had promised our father Abraham that somehow and at some time he would bless his Seed, and through it all the families of earth. Thus, in God's promise to Abraham, a future life was assured to us all, before the Mosaic Covenant was made; but just as soon as that Law Covenant went into force, and required that we must obey its every command, in order to secure life, that soon we found that we could not absolutely control our poor, fallen bodies, however much we willed to do so with our minds. And, as sin developed, we died our hopes of life expired, because we could not keep that Law covenant. I speak for, or as representing, our whole nation. Thus we found that the Law Cove-nant, promising life to the obedient, really sentenced us to death, because we could not obey its requirements.

Thus we acknowledge that the Law and the Covenant were good in themselves, but not helpful to us, because we were fallen beings. But God intended that it should show us how imperfect we really are. (Verse 13.) For the Law is adapted to all who are in full harmony with God's spirit perfect beings and this we Israelites were not; we were and are by nature carnal, depraved, even as others. And if our hearts be right, we can and will admit that we are unable to obey God's perfect law and that perfection is not to be found in our fallen flesh, even though in our mind we approve God's Law and would gladly obey it.

This is the wretched condition in which we find ourselves (verse 24), wanting to obey God's Law, and to have his favor and the everlasting life promised to them that love and obey him, and yet unable to do so because of [HGL83] our dead bodies fallen and sentenced through Adam's transgression. Oh! How can we get release from this, our difficulty? We cannot obey God's Law, and God cannot give us an imperfect Law to suit our fallen condition. Oh, wretched, hopeless condition!

But no, brethren, there is hope in Christ! Not a hope of our fulfilling the Law Covenant no hope of doing those things commanded, and living as a result; nor any hope of saving anything out of the wreck of Adam's fall and sentence. That must all be abandoned. We Israelites must die under the Law Covenant, as unsaved by it as we were before it was made, as unsaved as the Gentiles who never had a share in it. But as we realize ourselves dead under the terms of the Law Covenant, we see that Christ has died for Adam's sin, paid his penalty and thus redeemed him and all lost through his disobedience Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female. And this relieves us Jews, because Christ was a Jew, "born under the Law" Covenant, that he might redeem those who were under it. (Gal. 4:4, 5.) In consequence, therefore, God can be just and accept all who serve his Law in their minds and wills, and whose only hindrance from perfect obedience is the weakness of the fallen flesh.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift Christ through whom we become heirs of the chiefest of God's blessings on the divine plane and members of the Mediator of the New Covenant (typified in Keturah, Abraham's third wife) by which many will be blest with Restitution during the Millennium.

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